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Ohio will consider shielding mentally ill people from execution
Republican state senator says he has bi-partisan support for the bill
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Sen. Bill Seitz, a conservative Republican, says he has support from both parties.
Courtesy of State of Ohio
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Murderers who are found not guilty by reason of insanity can’t be executed in Ohio, but other seriously mentally ill people could face the death penalty. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports some lawmakers are trying to change that – and they’re being led by a conservative Republican.
LISTEN: Diminished understanding of a serious crime

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Killers with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bi-polar disorder, major depression or delusional disorder could be executed in Ohio if they’re convicted of murder but not determined to be legally insane. Republican Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati says people with those illnesses have diminished capacity to understand their crimes, so they should be spared lethal injection.

“It really does not serve any deterrence purpose to execute someone who was so seriously diminished mentally at the time of the crime. Why are we doing that? What purpose is served?” asks Seitz.

Seitz has bi-partisan support for his bill, which would require imprisonment but not execution for just those five illnesses. He says prosecutors would have ample opportunity to challenge those diagnoses in court.


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